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North South MRT line

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The North South line (NSL) is a high-capacity Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line in Singapore, operated by SMRT. It runs from Jurong East, located in western Singapore, to Marina South Pier in the Central Area. The line is 45 kilometres (28 mi) long and serves 26 stations,[1][2] 11 of which are underground. The line is coloured red on the rail map. It was the first MRT line to be built in Singapore, and it began service on 7 November 1987.[3]

MRT Singapore Destination 4.png MRT Singapore Destination 5.png
North South MRT line
North South Line logo.png
NS9 Woodlands MRT Platform.jpg
Two C151B trains at Woodlands, which is one of the most crowded stations of the line.
Native name Laluan MRT Utara Selatan
வடக்கு தெற்கு எம்ஆர்டி வழி
Type Rapid transit
System Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
Status Operational
Under construction (Canberra)
Termini Jurong East
Marina South Pier
Stations 26 (Operational) (excluding reserved station NS6)
1 (Under construction)
Services 1
Opened 7 November 1987; 30 years ago (1987-11-07)
Owner Land Transport Authority
Operator(s) SMRT Trains (SMRT Corporation)
Character Elevated (Jurong East - Ang Mo Kio)
Subsurface (Bishan)
Underground (Braddell - Marina South Pier)
Depot(s) Bishan
Ulu Pandan
Rolling stock C151
CR151 (Future)
Line length 45 km (28 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 V DC Third rail
Operating speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph)
Route map
MRT map NS.svg



The North South line is coloured red in the MRT system map.

As the name implies, the line connects central Singapore to northern and southern parts of the island. It runs mostly on overhead viaducts but goes underground within the Central Area, between Bishan and Marina South Pier. Travelling from one end of the line to the other takes about an hour.[citation needed]


First phase of developmentEdit

Toa Payoh station, the oldest station on the MRT line and the Singapore MRT system

The North South line was the first MRT line in Singapore, with the first section from Yio Chu Kang to Toa Payoh opening on 7 November 1987. Nine more stations from Novena to Outram Park followed on 12 December 1987.[4] The line was extended northward to Yishun on 20 December 1988 and it began independent operations on 4 November 1989, when the extension to Marina Bay was opened.[citation needed]

Second phase of development (Woodlands extension)Edit

Woodlands MRT station

After the Branch Line opened in 1990, the Woodlands MRT line was envisioned to close the gap between Yishun and Choa Chu Kang.[5] During the initial planning of the line, Sembawang station was only intended as a provisional station, to be built at a later date due to the underdevelopment of Sembawang. Kranji station was not planned. But on the second round of planning, the government decided to build these stations and omit Sungei Kadut station from the plan. Sungei Kadut station will be built later if the town's population justifies the necessity for the station. With the official opening of the Woodlands Extension on 10 February 1996, the Branch Line became part of the North South line.[5]

Jurong East modification projectEdit

Jurong East MRT station before the project

The Jurong East modification project entailed the construction of a new platform and the addition of a fourth track to Jurong East station to reduce waiting times and crowding at the station during peak hours.[6] The modification project was completed on 27 May 2011.[7] The track and platform was initially opened during morning peak hours only, but since December 2011, they also operate during the evening peak hours.[8]

North South line extensionEdit

A 1-kilometre (0.6 mi), one station extension from Marina Bay to Marina South Pier station was opened on 23 November 2014.[9] This extension serves the Marina South Pier, the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore and future developments in Marina Bay Downtown area.[9] At first, only 1 in 4 of the southbound trains will terminate at Marina South Pier. The other three trains will still terminate at the ex-terminus, Marina Bay, possibly due to Low demand. This restriction was lifted on May 2017 due to the new signalling systems. The last time where this restriction was implemented was on the 10th of May 2017, which was Vesak Day holiday. more recently, Marina Bay bound trains was re-introduced to increase the frequency of the trains between Jurong East and Marina Bay, but this rarely occurs.[citation needed]

Canberra stationEdit

On 17 January 2013, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that a feasibility studies was being conducted to create a station between Sembawang and Yishun stations.[10] The feasibility studies was completed in 2014 and Canberra station will be built.[11] Shortly later on 1 August 2014, LTA announced that construction will commence in mid-2015 and is expected to be completed in 2019.[12] Construction works for Canberra station commenced on 26 March 2016.[13] This station, which is an Infill station and will have side platforms, will be built along an operational section of the line between Sembawang and Yishun stations. The construction costs S$90 million[14] and is expected to be completed by 2019 to serve upcoming developments near the station.[15]

Installation of half-height platform screen doorsEdit

The government announced plans to install half-height platform screen doors on the elevated stations in January 2008.[16] The first platform screen doors were installed at Jurong East and Yishun stations in 2009 as trial runs.[17] Subsequently, installation began in May 2011 at Ang Mo Kio MRT station. On 14 March 2012, platform screen doors became operational on all surface stations on the North South line.[18]

Timeline of stations openedEdit

Improvement worksEdit

Timber to concrete sleeper replacement worksEdit

Timber sleepers were replaced when they neared the end of their lifespan of 15 to 25 years. The new replacement sleepers, made out of concrete, have a significantly longer lifespan.[19] Train services on the line were ended earlier to allow more time for the sleeper replacement works. All timber sleepers were replaced by April 2015. After the completion of the replacement works, train services resumed their normal operating hours.[20]

Resignalling worksEdit

A new signalling system, supplied by Thales, will replace the current ageing signalling system on the North South line. The upgrading works will be completed in phases from 2016. The upgraded signalling system will shorten waiting times as trains will be able to run closer to each other.[21] The new system was expected to become operational from mid-March 2017. MRT trains were also progressively retrofitted with new equipment on board to be compatible with the new signalling system.

The new system was tested on the evening of 28 March 2017, when train services were paused to facilitate the testing. Testing of the new system had been ongoing since August 2016.[22] From 16 April 2017, the new system commenced full-day testing on Sundays for two months. The new C151B rolling stock were first introduced to the line on these testing days.[23] Since 29 May 2017, the new signalling system has been operating full-day on the North South line.[24]

While the fact is that the East West Line has not been fully switched for several stretches, on 21 November 2017, the Land Transport Authority and SMRT said that from 8 December 2017 to 31 December 2017, 17 East West Line stations from Tiong Bahru to Tuas Link, and 2 North South line stations from Bukit Batok to Bukit Gombak, will close earlier on Fridays & Saturdays (at 11pm) and open later on Saturdays & Sundays (at 8am) to facilitate enhanced maintenance works (with replacement of track circuits at Jurong East and Ulu Pandan Depot as well as the re-signalling project of East West and North South Line). MRT stations will be fully closed on 10 December 2017 and 17 December 2017 to allow for extended engineering hours. As such, northbound train services will terminate at Choa Chu Kang.[25][26]

On 19 April 2018, SMRT announced that 7 stations from Khatib to Novena will close at around 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and open later at around 8am on Saturdays and Sundays in May. This is to facilitate the re-signalling system project of the North South Line between Khatib and Braddell.[27][28][29]

On 17 May 2018, SMRT announced that 5 stations from Admiralty to Yio Chu Kang will close at around 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and open later at around 8am on Saturdays and Sundays in June. Train services will continue to run from 15 June 2018 to 17 June 2018 during the week of Hari Raya Puasa.[30][31][32]

On 18 June 2018, SMRT announced that 7 stations from Bukit Gombak to Admiralty will close at around 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays in July. As a result, there will be no train services between Bukit Batok and Sembawang. For trains travelling between Jurong East and Bukit Batok, there will be an interval of up to 10 minutes.[33][34][35]

On 18 July 2018, SMRT announced that 7 stations on the East West Line from Dover to Pioneer and 3 stations on the North South Line from Bukit Gombak to Jurong East will close at around 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and open later at around 8am on Saturdays and Sundays in August and September 2018. Train services will continue to run from 10 August 2018 to 12 August 2018, 17 August 2018 to 19 August 2018 and 14 September 2018 to 16 September 2018.[36][37][38]

Third-rail replacementEdit

Replacement works on the third rail, which provides electricity to the trains, were completed in August 2017.[39] The new third rail replaced its 30-year-old predecessor, which was used since the opening of the line. The new electrical system is expected to make train services more reliable.[40]


On 3 March 2003, a 23-year-old driver driving his brother's Mercedes E200 lost control of the car along Lentor Avenue, crashing through the fence and landing onto a stretch of track between Yio Chu Kang and Khatib stations. The incident forced a train carrying hundreds of commuters to come to a screeching halt, but not before flattening the front of the car. The accident disrupted train services for more than three hours and cost SMRT between $100,000 and $150,000 in damage and lost revenue.

Damaged railEdit

On 15 December 2011, services between Bishan and Marina Bay stations were suspended due to damage sustained on 40 metres of power rail between City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut MRT stations. Trains along the stretch stalled, causing a 5-hour service disruption. Train service resumed fully at 11.40pm on that day.[41][42]

On 17 December 2011, a similar fault caused a 7-hour disruption between Ang Mo Kio and Marina Bay stations.[43][44] According to SMRT, the disruption was caused by damage to the third rail and the trains' collector shoes. Seven trains were damaged in this incident.[45]

These two service disruptions on the North South line were among the worst ever since SMRT's inception in 1987.[46]

Power tripsEdit

On 7 July 2015, the North South line along with the East West Line was shut down due to massive power trips detected along the line. This was the worst breakdown so far in SMRT's history. Investigations have been completed and the cause has been narrowed down to damaged insulators which failed to supply power properly.[47]

New signalling systemEdit

During the first few months of testing of the new signalling system, there had been numerous occasions of major service disruptions, lasting up to 3 hours long.[48][49] In light of the re-signalling system tests, SMRT has advised commuters to plan for longer traveling time on the line.[50]

Bishan tunnel floodingEdit

On 7 October 2017, train services between Ang Mo Kio and Marina South Pier stations were suspended in both directions for several hours due to flooding in the tunnels between Braddell and Bishan. A trackside fire between Raffles Place and Marina Bay stations further exacerbated the disruption. Train services between Marina South Pier and Newton were restored at about 9.20pm on the same day. Train services between Newton and Ang Mo Kio were fully resumed at around 2pm the following day. This incident caused a 20-hour service disruption.[51] Investigations revealed that the disruption started during a torrential downpour. A malfunction in the tunnel's water pumping and drainage system caused rainwater to flood the tunnels rapidly.[52]


North South MRT line
 NS1  EW24 
Jurong East
  Pasir Ris
 Tuas Link  
Bukit Batok
Bukit Gombak
  Choa Chu Kang (loop)
 NS4  BP1 
Choa Chu Kang
Yew Tee
Woodlands Flyover
Bukit Timah Expressway
 NS9  TE2 
  Sungei Bedok
  Woodlands North  
Lentor Flyover
Seletar Expressway
Yio Chu Kang
Ang Mo Kio
Kallang River
  Dhoby Ghaut  
 NS17  CC15 
Toa Payoh
  Bukit Panjang
 NS21  DT11 
  Woodlands North
 NS22  TE14 
  Sungei Bedok
 NS24  NE6  CC1 
Dhoby Ghaut
  Pasir Ris  
 NS25  EW13 
City Hall
 NS26  EW14 
Raffles Place
  Tuas Link
 NS27  CE2  TE20 
Marina Bay
  Woodlands North
  Sungei Bedok 
Marina South Pier
NSL station names
Station Number Station Name Image Interchange/Notes
 NS1  EW24  JE5  Jurong East   Cross-Platform Interchange with the East West line
Interchange with the Jurong Region line (2027)
 NS2  Bukit Batok  
 NS3  Bukit Gombak  
 NS4  JS1  BP1  Choa Chu Kang   Interchange with the Bukit Panjang LRT and the Jurong Region line (2026)
 NS5  Yew Tee    
 NS6  N/A Reserved Station
 NS7  Kranji    
 NS8  Marsiling    
 NS9  TE2  Woodlands   Interchange with the Thomson-East Coast line (2019)
 NS10  Admiralty  
 NS11  Sembawang    
 NS12  Canberra   Station added on operational line (under construction, planned opening in 2019)
 NS13  Yishun  
 NS14  Khatib    
 NS15  Yio Chu Kang    
 NS16  Ang Mo Kio    
 NS17  CC15  Bishan   Interchange with the Circle line
 NS18  Braddell  
 NS19  Toa Payoh    
 NS20  Novena    
 NS21  DT11  Newton   Connection with the Downtown line
 NS22  TE14  Orchard   Interchange with the Thomson-East Coast line (2021)
 NS23  Somerset  
 NS24  NE6  CC1  Dhoby Ghaut   Interchange with the North East line and the Circle line
 NS25  EW13  City Hall   Cross-Platform Interchange with the East West line
 NS26  EW14  Raffles Place   Cross-Platform Interchange with the East West line
 NS27  CE2  TE20  Marina Bay   Interchange with the Circle line extension and the Thomson-East Coast line (2021)
 NS28  Marina South Pier  

The station code "NS6" is reserved for future use.

Rolling stockEdit

From Left- 2 Siemens C651 trains and 2 Kawasaki C751B trains at Ulu Pandan Depot

The North South line consists of the following rolling stock: C151, C151A, C151B, C151C, C651 and C751B. They are housed in Bishan Depot, which provides train maintenance, inspection and overhaul facilities,[53] and in Ulu Pandan Depot.[54][55]

Train controlEdit

Half-height platform screen doors in Ang Mo Kio station

The new signalling system by Thales is currently undergoing full-time tests and is expected to be fully deployed later in 2017. Meanwhile, the old signalling system by Westinghouse will serve as a backup for the new system.[55]

The North South line is currently equipped with Thales SelTrac® Communications-based train control (CBTC) moving block signalling system[56] with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 3 (DTO).[57] The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, NetTrac MT Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Computer-based interlocking (CBI) system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.[58]

The old signalling system was overlaid during resignalling in 2017 but is still able to operate until 31 December 2018, with some of the stretches showing "Analogue" watermark.[55] The old signalling system consists of Westinghouse fixed block signalling system with Automatic train control (ATC) under Automatic train operation (ATO) GoA 2 (STO). The subsystems consist of Automatic train protection (ATP) to govern train speed, Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) to track and schedule trains and a Relay interlocking system that prevents incorrect signal and track points to be set.

Full-height platform screen doors, supplied by Westinghouse, were installed in all underground stations on the line since its opening. Half-height platform screen gates by ST Electronics were installed on all elevated stations by March 2012.[18]


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  2. ^ "NORTH-SOUTH LINE EXTENSION". LTA. Archived from the original on 2012-09-30. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  3. ^ "MRT Systems begin operations". Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  4. ^ Rav, Dhaliwal (12 December 1987). "Shopping for Xmas the MRT way..." Straits Times. Retrieved 19 September 2017 – via eResources.
  5. ^ a b Singapore, National Library Board,. "Woodlands MRT line | Infopedia". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  6. ^ "Jurong East Modification Project". Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
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  8. ^ "New Platform At Jurong East Station To Open On 27 May | Press Room | Land Transport Authority". Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  9. ^ a b "North-South Line Extension | Projects | Public Transport | Land Transport Authority". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  10. ^ "Two New Rail Lines And Three New Extensions To Expand Rail Network By 2030". Land Transport Authority. 17 January 2013. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
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  17. ^ Yeo Ghim Lay (3 September 2008). "Platform doors for elevated MRT stations". The Straits Times. p. 26.
  18. ^ a b "LTA completes installing elevated MRT station screen doors early". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  19. ^ "SMRT Rail Improvements – Updates – SMRT Blog". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  20. ^ "Project to replace MRT sleepers done".
  21. ^ LTA Website. "North-South Line Signal Upgrade". Land Transport Authority.
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  47. ^ LTA. "Power trip on MRT network due to power fault on NSEWL". Archived from the original on 2016-04-27.
  48. ^ "Commuters feeling frustrated after recent train delays".
  49. ^ "Downtown Line, North-South Line hit by delays on Friday morning".
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  52. ^ "NSL disruption: Malfunctioning water pumping system resulted in flooded MRT tunnel, says LTA". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
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External linksEdit